Master of Arts in Communication


A One-of-a-Kind Master's Program

The Master of Arts in Communication at Saint Mary's College of California (a +1 program) provides students with the ability to communicate through difference to form bonds connecting cultures, to do business across borders, and to build bridges between people. 

It is a one-year graduate program focused on applied research, highlighting clusters of in-demand skills and competencies that give students an edge in the post-graduate job market.  The course of study is designed to be completed in only one extra year after completion of an undergraduate degree from Saint Mary's (applications from non-Saint Mary's students or SMC alumni will be considered, and plans for accelerated graduation are available).  Students complete two cross-listed MA elective classes during their final two years as an undergraduate and then continue for an intensive year, earning two powerful degrees on an accelerated timeline. We place emphasis on shared inquiry and critical thinking, equipping our students to work, learn, and live in an increasingly diverse, globalized, and data-driven world. Students can choose to concentrate their four electives on any of our departmental strengths (including strategic or intercultural communication, media studies, and media production) or keep their studies more generalized. In either case, our curriculum focuses on communication challenges and opportunities in professional settings across cultures, working closely with invested faculty who bring a range of communication expertise and experience into the classroom so that students can leave and make an impact outside of it.



A World of Possibilities

Student engagement in the program will be built on self-reflexivity, awareness, and critical thinking. These skills, coupled with data-driven research opportunities and critical involvement in decision making, embolden students to pursue leadership roles in a variety of fields:

  • Technology 
  • Content Creation
  • Digital Media
  • International Business 
  • Social Services
  • Communication
  • Development
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Hospitality
  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Healthcare

As the Summer 2021 Salary Survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers recently reported, getting a Master of Arts in Communication and Media Studies provides an average starting salary boost of 46.8% over a Bachelor's degree in Communication. According to average salaries, that's just shy of a $20,000 premium for getting the second degree.  Given the cost of our +1 year, that's a pretty good average return on the investment, with the tuition paid off in under two years!

Real World Experience

Students finishing the program have the opportunity to participate in the optional intensive 4-week travel course in June that brings together knowledge and competencies learned in the program, applying them to an projects on behalf of international partner organizations.  In most cases, this will include two weeks of virtual studies and up to two weeks of travel to an international partner site, depending on global health and safety conditions. This course will provide further demonstration of your ability to apply the learning of the program to relevant professional contexts and prepare students for the next step in their career journey. Students who don't choose this option will complete their study through a comprehensive exam in June.

Bridge Course Options for Spring 2023


COMM 144/344 - Community Media

M/W        4:00-5:35pm         Jason Jakaitis

Course Description: In COMM 344, students will study communal and non-commercial media production in the context of social movements and grass-roots activism, and create videos and multimedia content with and about Saint Mary’s College and the surrounding community. Students will develop basic interviewing skills and event videography and rapid-response reporting techniques, and will familiarize themselves with a variety of tools and methods for the dissemination of digital content. COMM 344 satisfies the Artistic Understanding (Analysis and Creative Practice) and Community Engagement requirements of the Core Curriculum.


COMM 161/361 - Communication and Social Justice: Drag

T/Th         9:45-11:20am       Scött Schonfeldt-Aultman

Course Description: Focus on drag, gender performativity, identity, as well as drag's communicative/ rhetorical aspects and its relationship to social justice. We will be producing a drag and social justice show with Momma's Boyz, a Bay Area hip-hop drag king group. Incorporates a service-learning component.


COMM 163/363 - Media and Relationships

M/W/F     9:15-10:20am       Veronica Hefner

Course Description: This course explores the connection between media and interpersonal relationships by unpacking how social, digital, and traditional media use are related to the formation and maintenance of relationships, as well as how media use can influence individuals' perceptions and beliefs associated with romantic, friendship, family, and workplace relationships. This social-scientific course requires students to read academic journal articles related to media theory, interpersonal communication, and the integration of those two fields, as well as analyze a film for the final project.


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